Now that you’re working from home, your boss’s shortcomings are more evident than ever. In fact, this new digital workspace has accentuated their flaws so much that they’ve become impossible to ignore. You’re finding they can no longer be written off as “He’s just eccentric!” and, as a consequence, your incredulity regarding your boss’s position within the company has, too, grown.
In fact—and it could just be the months of working from home and your general lack of social interaction talking—you’ve even begun to question whether your boss really is who they say they are. They struggle so much with Zoom and, it seems, technology in general, it begs the question: is this person even from the 21st century? Or—if we’re speaking in completely hypothetical terms of course—is there a chance that your boss is actually (seriously, I’m just speculating, here!) a disoriented, time-travelling seaman, inexplicably transported to our time from the 17th century, biding his time masquerading as a mid-level marketing manager within your corporation, just until he figures out how to return to his swashbuckling, Poseidon-honoring maritime ways?
It’s crazy. You know that.
You’ve even started questioning your own sanity—you don’t dare broach the subject with your other, less observationally-inclined, coworkers. Still, when you break it down: you’ve never actually seen your boss’s face (they perpetually have a vague “issue” with their laptop camera), they struggle with even the most basic functions over Zoom (private messages are oft penned and sent to the entire meeting chat), and—you know it’s crazy—you’ve even sworn you’ve heard the unmistakable “thunk” of a peg-leg issuing from their mic on more than one Zoom call.
Thankfully, there’s no need to involve anyone else in this well-thought-out theory of yours and risk damaging your reputation as a result. These five indicators should be more than enough to help you prove that it’s not your boss on the other end of your Zoom call, but rather a boorish old sea dog, homesick for the days of yore.
They never have their laptop camera on during meetings.
This one is tricky. Maybe they’re just shy, or perhaps they really do have a defunct laptop camera—or, in the spirit of ruling things out, maybe they’re actually concealing a seaworn face, weathered by decades of exposure to the unrelenting elements; an outdated, salt-stiffened beard; and a pair of stormy, sorrowful eyes that practically scream, “My name is actually Captain Atkinson, I’ve become inexplicably trapped in your modern era, and I long to return to my old life at sea.” Any one of these scenarios is equally possible!
You don’t think they know what your company actually does, despite the fact that they’re, allegedly, the boss.
Like, they’ve demonstrated little to no understanding of basic marketing practices, or even what they’re supposed to be doing on a day-to-day basis; while simultaneously exhibiting a suspicious level of know-how regarding the navigation of the Atlantic using only the sun and stars as guides, as well as how, when, and who to offer as a sacrifice to appease the vengeful deep-sea nymph, Calypso. As you’ve learned firsthand.
They lack an understanding of the most basic Zoom conventions as well as general social decorum.
In addition to not understanding the concept of a private Zoom chat, or how to properly function their camera or mic, they also have a strange—and, frankly, off-putting—proclivity to launch into unprovoked, off-topic monologues in the middle of your meetings. You’re not trying to be insubordinate, but you can’t help but wonder how “that dastardly sea-demon, the Kraken, god have mercy on us all” is relevant to this week’s client deliverables.
They’ve started referring to you as Skipper?
This one’s weird, but you sort of like it, so you’re willing to let it slide.
They have an unconventional way of exiting Zoom meetings.
While most employees opt for a neutral, unassuming, “Thanks, everyone!” or “Talk to you later!”—your boss has a more, er… unique way of doing things. Sure, you’ve heard your friends complain about their bosses leaving a Zoom meeting without warning, five minutes before it’s actually supposed to end. But it feels like you alone have had to deal with Zoom sign-offs in the form of a muffled scream (of terror? Or excitement?) followed by a string of old-timey curses, prayers to gods you’ve never even heard of before, and what you could only assume to be the creaking and moaning of the wooden planks comprising the deck of the weird, time-travelling schooner that no doubt just popped back into existence.
At this point, you don’t really know what’s going on with the marketing deliverables and you’re at a complete loss regarding client deadlines—but you’re pretty sure you’re going to be the second in command when it comes to your boss’s next nautical adventure. Can somebody say, “Land, Ho!”—I think I see a promotion on the horizon!